New changes will improve options for children and young adults and protect the coverage of anyone who is sick.
Now that several new provisions of health reform have kicked in, let's look at what effect -- if any -- they will have on you or your family. Most important: They provide more insurance options for children and young adults. Also of note: Insurance companies can no longer drop coverage of people who get sick.
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For many families, these changes couldn't happen soon enough. But more extensive reforms to provide affordable coverage to many of the nation's uninsured -- now a staggering 50.7 million people, according to the latest census report -- won't take effect until 2014. (A video by the Kaiser Family Foundation provides an excellent overview.)
Here are the latest developments:
Fares are up and seats will be harder to come by this year.
It's time to start your holiday shopping -- for airfare, at least.
Last year, would-be travelers had the luxury to buy at the last minute, with airlines slashing ticket prices until the week before Christmas to fill empty seats. Not this year.
World's Largest Ice Cream Social will dish up free ice cream. And don't forget Bud's free beer.
This weekend, there is no excuse for not going out and enjoying some free fun.
Depending on the weather, you might choose a free visit to a national park or a free visit to a museum.
Entry to all 392 U.S. national parks is free on Public Lands Day, Saturday, Sept. 25. (Admission to some national parks is always free.) The next free day at national parks that charge admission will be Nov. 11, Veterans Day.
Organize a neighborhood produce swap and enjoy a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs.
Kind of like spinning straw into gold. And this sort of thing goes on all the time thanks to the Hillside Produce Cooperative, a group of neighbors in northeast Los Angeles.
In a post called "Delicious and nutritious free food," Angela outlined several reasons to love this idea:
If you didn't opt in for the service, your bank can no longer charge you a hefty fee. Instead, your debit card will be declined.
That's the service that pays the transaction but charges a fee -- typically about $30 -- sometimes resulting in big tabs for tiny purchases. Enrollment used to be automatic, but new rules require that banks now get your permission before signing you up. (Here's our story about the new overdraft rules.)
While most consumer advocates (including us) applaud the decision to not sign up for the service, it's left millions of Americans walking around with no protection at all.
If you can't live on that amount of money each year, it's your fault.
A few weeks ago I shared with you 10 characteristics of debt-free people of modest means.
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In that article I specifically asked my readers to consider this question:
Why is it that there are families out there with household incomes under $40,000 comfortably making ends meet and saving for retirement with no debt on the books -- or at worst, a single mortgage payment -- while others who made millions per year like Sinbad, Ed McMahon, Mike Tyson, and Stephen Baldwin had trouble keeping their financial heads above water?
While my list of 10 traits was met with general acceptance, I did manage to start up a minor debate among the readers as to whether or not it was really possible for the majority of folks here in the good ol' USA to make ends meet on $40,000 per year.
How can I make such a claim?
Bundle's free tool shows your daily spending habits, categorized and compared with those of other people just like you.
This post comes from MSN Money.
MSN Money's new partner, Bundle.com, offers an answer to the question every consumer has: How am I doing?
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Starting this month, MSN Money readers will be able to aggregate their checking, credit and investment accounts to create a comprehensive picture of their own spending. They'll be able to build smarter budgets with drag-and-drop functionality and set long-term goals. They'll be able to compare notes with others in the same situations.
But Bundle completes the personal-finance puzzle with its critical missing piece:
Shortcuts, faked documents and forged signatures -- activists uncover evidence of overburdened courts and mortgage processors.
This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.
This week's mortgage industry revelation -- that one of the country's largest lenders is halting evictions because of concerns that a large number of its foreclosures were improperly processed -- "took the housing industry by surprise and set the foreclosure blogosphere abuzz." That's the assessment from Mother Jones, the muckraking magazine.
"Could bank's admission about dubious foreclosure documents cast doubt over millions of foreclosures filed by Wall Street banks in the past few years?" MJ asks.
The flawed process has created "an opening for borrowers to contest some of the more than 2 million foreclosures that have taken place since the real estate crisis began," says The Washington Post.
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